Group Capitalizes on 'Kony 2012'
Published: Friday, March 23, 2012
Updated: Friday, March 23, 2012 03:03
For the past two years, Georgetown’s Invisible Children chapter has worked to raise awareness of human rights violations committed by Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda.
However, the viral popularity and widespread debate about the documentary film “Kony 2012” has brought the group new attention.
“Our biggest problem is getting people to know that we are here. Georgetown is inundated with social justice causes. ‘Kony 2012’ really changed all of that,” Kirsten Harris (SFS ’14), one of the co-presidents of Georgetown’s Invisible Children chapter, said.
In two weeks, “Kony 2012,” a short film intended to expose the leader of a guerrilla movement infamous for employing child soldiers, has received over 84 million views on YouTube and attracted both praise and anger. On top of the criticism arguing that the video oversimplified the conflict in Uganda, additional controversy surfaced last week when Invisible Children co-founder Jason Russell was detained by police for vandalism and making sexual gestures. He was subsequently hospitalized.
However, Harris said Invisible Children’s message is not affected.
“This movement is bigger than Jason Russell. It is bigger than Kony. It is more than one person,” she said. “Jason is one of three founders. It doesn’t change anything. We are still committed to the cause.”
On April 23, the chapter is sponsoring a visit from young volunteers traveling around the United States to spread the organization’s message and fundraise. While the group has been planning the event since before “Kony 2012” went viral, it now plans to screen the film at the program.
The club also participated in Wednesday night’s Ignite Talks and a panel on “Kony 2012” sponsored by the African Society of Georgetown Thursday to raise awareness of its cause.
Club leaders plan to bring Invisible Children founder Bobby Bailey to campus. The national organization recently sent two representatives from San Diego to set up a satellite office in D.C. in an effort to create an activist community among the colleges and universities in the nation’s capital.
“All of [a] sudden we have resources that we didn’t have before,” Harris said.
The two representatives attended the general interest meeting held by Georgetown’s chapter last week for students interested in getting involved with the “Kony 2012” movement. Harris said that the turnout at the meeting was larger than it has been in past meetings.
“The main goal of the video was to get Kony’s name out there. That isn’t really necessary anymore. [The number of] views proves that,” she said.